KUCCPS Selects 90,000 for Degree and Diploma Courses

Some 90,000 candidates who sat the Form Four examination last year will in two weeks know the universities or colleges they have been selected to join.

And, in an unprecedented move, 32,000 of the candidates will be picked for diploma courses while the remaining 58,000 will be offered places to undertake degree courses, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) has told the Sunday Nation.

This is the first time that students will be admitted to middle-level colleges through the newly created placement body. The institutions include the much sought-after Kenya Medical Training Colleges, Diploma Teacher Training Colleges and the Kenya Technical Training College.

“Forty-eight colleges under the Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutions will have students admitted through the new entity but more institutions will be included next year,” the organisation’s CEO, Mr John Muraguri, said.

Some 446,696 candidates sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination (KCSE) last year, of which 123,365 scored the minimum university entry qualification of C+ and above.

However, due to limited university slots, only students who attained a B plain of 60 points for male candidates and a B- of 58 points for female candidates were selected for a degree course.

As such, 33,365 candidates, who attained the university entry qualification have neither been selected for a degree or a diploma course.

Mr Muraguri said the new selection method is one of the first steps the body has taken to remove the opaqueness associated with university and college admissions that has in the past left many students and parents frustrated.

“A lot of emphasis has been given to the universities leaving the tertiary institutions to admit students from their localities or on the basis of who you know,” he said.

The selection body, which became operational on March 10 to replace the Joint Admissions Board, adopted a fully electronic process that required students to open online accounts on its website and select their preferred courses and institutions electronically.

“We have also employed a fully automated selection process and we have tools that process and give the output automatically without human intervention,” Mr Muraguri said.

“Successful candidates will be notified via SMS using the contacts on their online accounts. We shall inform them to get in touch with the institutions that have selected them to collect their admission letters,” he added.

The results will be published on the KUCCPS website to give the students and parents an opportunity to verify and query them. Mr Muraguri said inclusion of tertiary institutions gave the students a wide range of options to select from unlike in the
past when students were forced to pursue degree courses that are not competitive, increasing the number of unemployed graduates.

“Over 200 students who we see clearly qualify to join university did not choose any university in their selection, opting to do competitive diploma courses such as clinical medicine at KMTC or engineering courses. A few others wanted to go to Kagumo College and Kibabii College to do a diploma in education,” he said.

The biggest beneficiaries from this year’s selection, however, will be candidates with disabilities.

“Any student with hearing or visual disability and sat KCSE examination and got a C+ and they filled the disability form and had their head teacher write a recommendation letter will automatically get a university admission regardless of gender,” said Mr Muraguri. “Those with physical disabilities have been admitted at two points lower than their respective cut-off points,” he said.

Sixty-eight candidates have been admitted in this category. The previous year, male candidates had to score a B plain of 61 points and female candidates a B- of 59 points to qualify. Some 53,010 candidates were selected in 2012 and this year an additional 4,990 slots have been added. - Sunday Nation, August 3rd 2014.

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KUCCPS owes university applicants explanation
by: Anonymous

Last week’s disclosure by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) that more than 31,000 students who were expecting to join public universities and colleges this year risk losing their places if they fail to make fresh choices was disturbing.

By the end of May, 93,000 candidates applied for places at public universities and colleges, but last week the placement agency said it had admitted about 42,000 applicants for degree programmes and 15,000 in tertiary colleges. Those who missed were asked to reapply for the second and final choices.

The huge number of applicants who failed to get places in public institutions of higher learning has now put on the spot this new body that was established to co-ordinate the placement of government-sponsored students to universities and colleges.

The agency says the students either failed to meet the minimum cluster points for the degrees and diploma courses they selected or they were elbowed out of the choices by competition.

It is unlikely the candidates failed to meet the minimum cluster points because selection of courses was based on one meeting the minimum cluster qualifications. Stiff competition seems to be a more likely reason.

The placement agency needs to answer these questions urgently. How effective is this new system when more than 30 per cent of the students miss out even after they have made eight choices?

What happens if a candidate who has attained university entry cut-off points and has also attained minimum cluster points for a course misses out for the second time?

Will such candidates be locked out of pursuing education in public institutions? Is it fair to ask these students to pay Sh1,000 when they are re-applying after they had parted with Sh1,500 in the first instance?

Clearly, candidates apply without prior knowledge on the number of candidates interested in a particular course and the number of vacancies available in the public universities and colleges.

Unless KUCCPS develops clearer selection criteria, fear of failure to get a place in certain courses will force candidates to go for courses with little competition in a bid to get the now elusive places.

Lost precious time Secondly, most candidates failed to bid for the courses they qualified for because the application guidelines were not clear.

Applicants for degree programmes were asked to make eight choices, including two diploma choices.
The guidelines said that a candidates’ choices 1(a), 1(b) and 1(c) clusters was to be for similar programmes while choices two, three and, four can be any other programmes for both degree and diploma programmes.

If a candidate qualifies to apply for a bachelor’s degree, they may choose diploma choices as choice five and six.

Clearly the body would have made an effort to visit schools or train schools’ career masters on how the students should pick the courses.

Most candidates spent lots of time in cyber cafes trying to make sense of these vague guidelines.

Hopefully going forward, the agency will educate candidates on how they will select courses once the examination result is out.

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